Households have been warned that the UK’s “golden era” of cheap food is over, as official figures point to the toll of the cost of living crisis, with two in five people buying less food to get by.
Nine out of 10 of the adults polled told the Office for National Statistics their outgoings were higher this month than last.
Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the number of people having to spend less on food was “alarming”.
“It’s no wonder that a third of us are so anxious,” she added
Minette Batters, the NFU president, said egg, chicken and pork producers were among those operating at a loss due to soaring farm costs. The price of energy, fuel, feed and packaging were all “spiralling upwards”, she said.
“For all of these input costs, whether it’s packaging or feed, we’re seeing rising inflation. It is costing more, a lot more, to produce the food than it can be sold for,” Mrs Batters said.
“The question is how we receive fair returns for everybody and make sure that the consumer can still afford to buy. The danger is, if you put all of these costs on to the consumer, are they going to be able to afford to buy it?”
Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said he couldn’t see “an easy way for food prices to come down again”.
He said: “We have seen cost of production increases that mean we are expecting to see food inflation at 15%.
“It’s not just energy prices rises, it is increases in feed costs and labour, the effects of Brexit on trade. If it was one of those it may be manageable and recoverable, but as it is all of them, it makes life increasingly difficult.”